A Patrick Cripps-inspired Carlton has fallen seven points short of an almighty AFL upset over finals-bound West Coast.
The Eagles led all day but were unable to kick away from the ragged Blues, falling over the line for a 12.10 (82) to 11.9 (75) win.
Cripps produced a fourth-quarter masterclass to bring his side to the brink of an unlikely success.
He tallied 14 disposals, eight clearances and a goal in the final term as Carlton threatened to make West Coast pay for their wastefulness.
Final-term goals to Cripps, Jacob Weitering and Bryce Gibbs brought the Blues close but it wasn’t to be, with both sets of players slumping to the ground on the fulltime siren.
In Carlton’s case, it was disappointment at coming so close but for Adam Simpson’s side, it was another emotion.
“It’s probably more relief when you have games like this,” Simpson said.
“The way we won, not ideal. But we’ll take the win.”
For three quarters, the 26,389 at the MCG – including United States vice president Joe Biden – saw an underwhelming spectacle.
The Eagles were on top without kicking away from Carlton all afternoon in an error-strewn match played well below fifth-gear.
Carlton had the kicking yips while Eagles forward Jack Darling kicked 0.5.
West Coast had too many routes to goal to let Darling’s dirty day cost them, with Jamie Cripps kicking three goals and Elliot Yeo, Josh Kennedy and Mark LeCras bagging two.
Luke Shuey impressed in midfield while Andrew Gaff and Matt Priddis were prominent in the bittersweet victory.
On this evidence, West Coast have some work to do to mount a successful September campaign.
But the four premiership points moves the Eagles closer to cementing their place in the top four.
The Eagles notched a fourth-straight success with the win, condemning Carlton to a fifth loss in a row.
Brendon Bolton’s side had strong contributors in defence, where Sam Docherty notched a game-high 32 disposals, Zach Tuohy was spirited and Kade Simpson played his usual steady hand.
Jack Silvagni continued to grow into his guernsey, kicking 1.2, while Weitering booted the first two goals of his own AFL career after being sent forward to help deal with a calf complaint.
Bolton said he was pleased to see the fightback against a well-credentialled side.
“I thought our last quarter we were bold with the footy,” he said.
“We were aggressive. We had scoring opportunities.
“We see development … they’re a good side West Coast.”